Washington: US President Barack Obama
plans to announce a redrawn battle plan for Afghanistan,
including what the military says could be a roughly 50 per
cent increase in American forces, in a national address on
Tuesday night from the US Military Academy.
Although military and administration officials
cautioned that Obama has not settled on a final figure, the
military is planning for an increase of up to 35,000 troops
begin next year. Military officials spoke on condition of
The additional forces would come atop a record 71,000
US troops in the country now and would represent the largest
expansion since the war began eight years ago.
Obama will be speaking to a war-weary American public,
with the Army`s storied academy at West Point, New York, as a
backdrop and cadets entering the service most stretched by two
wars on hand.
Polls show support for the war has dropped
significantly since Obama took office, with a majority now
saying both that they oppose the war and that it is not worth
The President promised this week to "finish the job"
begun eight years ago, and press secretary Robert Gibbs said
yesterday the announcement would include an exit strategy.
But the surge in troops would be Obama`s second since
taking office, and liberal Democrats already are lining up
against it, in part because of the also-surging cost -- up to
USD 75 billion a year.